Thirteen years of fighting to stop the Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline

October 27, 2017

Thirteen years! This week is the 13th anniversary of the brutal fracked-gas export scheme assaulting the families, farms, ranches, woodlands, public lands, rivers, watersheds, mountains, estuaries, and coast of Southern Oregon.

Thirteen years. Thirteen years of fighting to stop the Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline from slashing a three-foot diameter explosive methane-filled pipeline, 230 miles from the Klamath River basin to Coos Bay. It would rip a clear-cut the size of an Interstate Highway through back yards and national forests; through five rivers and more than 400 streams and wetlands; through our public lands and the fragile homes of dozens of endangered and threatened species; through Indigenous burial grounds and historic and prehistoric archaeological artifacts.

Thirteen years. Thirteen years of exposing the greed and insanity of the Jordan Cove Liquefied Natural Gas Export Terminal plan to build on a sand spit right on the fracture line of the largest and most dangerous earthquake and tsunami zone in North America, on the edge of Coos Bay. They are aiming to run massive LNG tankers filled with explosive Canadian methane to Asia – tankers officially classified as “terrorism magnets,” so dangerous that the entire Port must be shut down by the Coast Guard when these monster ships move, disrupting recreational boating, commercial shipping and fisheries, and tourism — and costing jobs.

Thirteen years. Thirteen years of Canadian energy speculators exploiting the Cheney loopholes for fracked-gas pollution, now scheming with the Trump Regime take-over of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to shove eminent domain down the throats of hundreds of Landowners along the pipeline route.

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This has gone on too long. The good news is that together, we can stop it! No matter where you live in Oregon, you can easily link up with neighbors and activists to bring this insanity to a halt. The Sierra Club has developed strong plans, solid legal and economic analysis, and tight alliances with like-minded organizations to stop Pacific Connector and Jordan Cove.

Together, we will stop these pig-headed greedy speculators and work for healthy sustainable change in our society.

Thanks so much!

Ted Gelichman
Policy Advisor, Oregon beyond Gas and Oil Campaign
ted.gleichman@oregon.sierraclub.org


Executive Committee Elections are Approaching!

October 27, 2017
The Oregon Chapter is preparing for the upcoming annual elections, and the Nominations Committee has submitted a slate of seven candidates that are running for election for five positions on the Executive Committee.  All members will be receiving a ballot either by mail or electronically, and we encourage everyone to participate!  More information on the current seven candidates will be coming soon.

But in the meantime before we vote, our members have the opportunity to recommend their own candidates for these positions.  Per our bylaws, the name of any Chapter member proposed in writing by at least 1 percent of the Chapter members shall also be included on the ballot.  If anyone wishes to petition another Chapter member for the ballot, please get in touch with Conservation Director Rhett Lawrence (rhett.lawrence@sierraclub.org) and begin gathering the requisite number of member signatures.  The signatures must be gathered and submitted by November 10th!

Following the finalization of the slate of candidates, ballots are expected to go out by November 17th.  We are excited about the candidates this year, and look forward to the election. Again, please vote!  All votes will be due December 22nd.

Thank you for your participating and support of the Oregon Chapter of the Sierra Club!


We would like you to meet Erika Alabarca, the unstoppable Portland volunteer!

October 24, 2017

For Erika Alabarca, volunteering at the Sierra Club was personal. In 2003, her brother Adam tragically passed away in a car accident at just shy of 30 years old. Adam had been a passionate activist for the Club here in Portland, working on the important local elections of the day. He was so strongly committed to his environmental activism, in fact, that rather than buy flowers for his funeral, people were encouraged to donate to the Sierra Club to set up a fund for environmental education.Erika alabarca 2

That year Erika flew out from New York City, planning to visit Portland temporarily to get to know her brother’s life — meet his friends, see where he worked, and connect with everyone and everything he had been involved in. That visit became a permanent move; Erika, originally from Wisconsin, has been in Oregon ever since and has dived head first into the advocacy role that her brother had filled.  

Though Erika met the Club’s regional director when she first moved west in 2004, she spent the majority of that year concentrated on national projects, working for the eight months prior to the presidential election on the Environmental Voter and Building Environmental Communities campaigns. In 2007 Erika embarked on a new project: increasing awareness of all the environmental issues still afflicting New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Distressed that the situation was fading from the media spotlight while there was still enormous need for sustainable rebuilding, she and a small group of others hatched an idea for a three-part awareness campaign. Through an art exhibit at City Hall and panel discussions in the newly renovated Armory building regarding themes of environment, home, and displacement, Erika and her partners raised $8,000 for the Alliance for Affordable Energy.

Erika Alabarca

For the past year-and-a-half, Erika, who is a Portland Public School teacher by day, has been part of the Columbia Network Steering Committee, and is closely tying those two worlds together. The opportunity for her to do so is the sweeping Climate Justice Resolution, endorsed by many of the city’s teachers, the Club, and now adopted by the Portland Public School Board.  

The resolution is the first of its kind from any school system in the country and instructs the district to look at both new and current curricula in order to teach the severity, human causes, and human influences of climate change. Not only that, but the resolution dedicates time for professional development for teachers and administrators to bring climate justice education into their schools so that students will be empowered to develop climate literacy and look at environmental issues through an equity lens.

As with any resolution, Erika cautions that the work is ongoing. But with the resolution turning a new page for Portland Public Schools, we have the opportunity to look forward to another generation of young people who not only understand the climate crisis and perils facing the environment, but have the energy, passion, and relentless drive to do something about it; just like Adam and Erika Alabarca.  

 


Welcome Trevor Kaul!

October 13, 2017

Trevor Kaul is a nonprofit capacity builder with over 15 years of experience, including 7 years working for the Sierra Club in Washington State. A dynamic advocate and leader, he specializes in talent management, problem solving, and developing program strategies which deliver immediate impact while fulfilling long-term organizational priorities. Trevor began his career as a community organizer and advocate working for groups like the Sierra Club, Public Interest Network, and Human Rights Campaign (HRC). In national leadership roles at Taproot Foundation and Coaching Corps, Trevor applied systems oriented thinking to highlight patterns of organizational behavior and recommend enhancements to change theory and performance management. As a consultant with Grassroots Solutions and Venture Leadership Consulting, Trevor partnered with youth development and social justice organizations to provide strategic program evaluation and leadership services.

Trevor is extremely excited to be returning to the Sierra Club. During his tenure as the Washington State Director of the Sierra Club, he helped grow the chapter into a leader in the environmental community by building high performing teams, establishing diverse partnerships, and doubling fundraising. He’s looking forward to working with the volunteer leaders in Oregon to achieve similar success.

A student of humanity with an adventurous side, Trevor is a world traveler, nature lover, and a graduate of Westminster College, MO.

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This is the story of amazing Sierra Club volunteer, Dave Stowe! And his journey to protect and keep Waldo Lake wild.

September 26, 2017

Dave Stowe

Dave Stowe grew up in Bend back when it was an eighth of its current population. There was no sprawl of development, be it extensive housing or tourism infrastructure. No, in those days where the city ended, the forest began.

Long before he was campaigning to get wilderness designations in Oregon, Dave was hiking the region when the Wilderness Act was first passed in 1964. He spent his childhood camping, paddling, hunting, fishing, and generally exploring the mountains, lakes, and desert surrounding his family home, spending countless hours and nights outside. In fact, the Stowes have lived in Central Oregon for generations, well prior to Oregon becoming a state, so Dave’s childhood was full of not only his own stories of adventure in the woods, but his grandparents’ memories of those same meaningful places, and their stories of their grandparents there before them.  

In the early 1990s while living in San Diego, Dave joined the Sierra Club as a volunteer, bringing with him his deeply-held passion for the environment and his inclination to find common ground.  Though he spent a number of years fighting land subdivision in Southern California, it was not until Dave came home to Bend that his work with the Club really clicked.

Dave returned to a Bend he didn’t recognize.  Development was rampant in his eyes, and the old, natural boundaries around town were getting overrun.  But after heading out to a roadless area a mile up in the Cascades where he hadn’t been for three decades, he had a renewed sense of connectedness.  That special place was Waldo Lake.

Thus, the Keep Waldo Wild campaign was born in 2011, largely out of Dave’s desire to protect the area in perpetuity.  But Waldo Lake was not simply another location to designate; it was a lake so unique and important that Dave knew it would quickly become a rallying point– plus the location of our ever-popular annual campout.  

That’s because, as Dave likes to explain, Waldo is perhaps the single purest lake in the world, an ultraoligotrophic (extremely low in nutrients) water body that collects its water from rainfall and snowmelt in the surrounding old-growth (which just so happens to be the state’s largest stand of ancient Mountain Hemlock) rather than from an inflowing river.  It’s hard to describe how clear Waldo’s waters are without seeing them in person, but two points lend a hand in visualization.  First, paddlers often comment that they feel they’re “flying” or “floating on air” due to the clarity of the water. Second, the underwater visibility, which can extend for over 150 feet, rivals or exceeds that of lab-distilled water.  

Dave Stowe

Waldo is home to an impressive array of wildlife too.  Pileated Woodpeckers, Spotted Owls, Sooty and Ruffed Grouse, and mid-sized carnivores such as Pine Martens and the rare Pacific Fisher can all be found in the area, while Wolverines are suspected of using the region as a migration corridor. Luckily, development is noticeably absent from Waldo.  As the second biggest lake in Oregon, it is possibly the only large lake left in the west that is still commercially undeveloped.

 While Waldo is surrounded on three of four sides by Wilderness area, the Southeast, although somewhat protected, lacks an equally permanent protection designation.  But Dave is working to change that.  After a push to successfully ban seaplanes and gas-powered motorboats on the lake (in which the state marine board received the highest volume of letters in its history), the next step was to get the remaining tract–around 75,000 acres of lakeshore land–designated as a Forest Conservation Area, a rare proposal for National Forests, but common for the Bureau of Land Management.  And while the old strategy for protection had revolved around litigation, Dave strived to reach out to diverse interest groups, befriending timber lobbyists and mountain bikers alike.  In this way, the new designation would preserve ultrarunners and mountain bikers’ current trail access in the areas that were most important to them, and set aside the remaining acreage as pure Wilderness, thus creating a win-win for all and satisfying the Club’s environmental goals, allowing Waldo Lake to remain perfectly clean and clear for future generations.

Ultimately though, this designation will require a bill in Congress, an unlikely proposition at the moment considering the state of politics in Washington, D.C.  In the meantime, the Keep Waldo Wild campaign will continue to work just as ever to protect and preserve this beautiful area of Oregon.  Your ongoing support is what makes this work possible and empowers volunteers like Dave!  


Fighting Fracked Gas, 334 Miles Away

September 19, 2017

By Ted Gleichman, Beyond Gas & Oil Team

Can Portland leadership help stop the largest, most dangerous, and most devastating fossil fuel scheme in state history?  

We are in “round three” of trying to stop Canadian energy speculator Veresen, Inc., from slashing a clearcut through 235 miles of public forest land, farms, ranches, homes, and communities for an explosive fracked-gas pipeline, Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline.  This 36-inch diameter monstrosity would carry Canadian fracked gas from the interstate gas pipeline hub near Malin to Coos Bay, on the coast.  (The Malin pipeline hub is 334 miles from the Oregon Chapter office in Portland.)

Nature's nurtured bounty in Southern Oregon-September 19 2017

Today’s organic harvest by an “Affected Landowner.”  Their land includes a sustainably-harvested woodlot that Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline would tear through.  Photo: Ted Gleichman

In Coos Bay, Veresen plans a massive industrial terminal to export this Canadian gas to Asia as LNG (liquefied natural gas): the Jordan Cove Energy Project.  Pacific Connector/Jordan Cove (PC/JC) would become the largest greenhouse gas polluter in Oregon.  Oregonians have been fighting to stop this for almost 13 years now.

This scheme is the Trump Regime’s top energy priority now, after Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipeline.  So how can we who live in Portland make a difference?

Easy! … and hard: basic grassroots organizing.  Here’s the deal: Two-thirds of the Democrats in the Oregon Legislature live in the Portland Metro area.  They need to be part of this fight, and you can help!

Oregon Chapter and Columbia Network are key leaders in developing a new multi-organization action team, Stop Fracked Gas/PDX.  We are asking Sierra Club Members and supporters to join us in educating and persuading our State Representatives and Senators on how they can make a difference.  Down the road, we expect to work with other stakeholders as well.

To join in, please email me for the simple details for the next step.

Portland Democrats must not support the Trump fossil fuels agenda !!!

Thank you!  Email: ted.gleichman@oregon.sierraclub.org

 

 


Meet Oregon Sierra Club’s volunteer and activist extraordinaire Jennifer Haynes

August 28, 2017

Jennifer Haynes didn’t start out as your trademark activist. The Many Rivers Group Executive Committee member describes herself as an “introverted scientist,” and for many years she resisted joining volunteer leadership or campaign efforts, thinking she didn’t fit the mold.

Jen Haynes 2Jennifer joined the Sierra Club in Los Angeles in the mid-1990s.  An avid hiker — she has backpacked the length of Oregon along the Pacific Crest Trail — she had been retreating from the L.A. city bustle to the Santa Monica mountains when she began to notice the extent of environmental damage being done there. But with her Ph.D. in Microbiology and Molecular Genetics and Jennifer joined the Sierra Club in Los Angeles in the mid-1990s. An avid hiker — she has backpacked the length of Oregon along the Pacific Crest Trail — she had been retreating from the L.A. city bustle to the Santa her work at Children’s Hospital, she figured it was better to stick with outings and donations, leaving the activism to others.

That all changed a year-and-a-half ago. While in the middle of pursuing her next degree in environmental nonprofit management from the University of Oregon, studying hard and switching careers, Jennifer decided to pitch her hat in the ring and run for a position as a Club board member on the Many Rivers Group Executive Committee. Needless to say, she won.

In that post, she’s been striving to protect the Elliott State Forest, an ecologically priceless tract of land threatened by privatization. The Elliott State Forest has been part of the Common School Fund lands for nearly a century, an archaic designation that has unfortunately pitted the forest’s continued preservation against the successful funding of Oregon’s public education system. State law mandates that the land be used to bring in cash that funds schools, and the obvious revenue stream from a forest is timber. Ironically then, in an effort to better our children’s future, the state is promoting ecological unsustainability.

But the Elliott isn’t just a tract of valuable trees. It’s home to marbled murrelets, spotted owls, and coho salmon, three of the Pacific Northwest’s iconic endangered species, and each in relatively high numbers to boot. Upon their listing to the Endangered Species Act and a coinciding series of environmental law suits, Oregon could no longer clear cut and log timber to the extent they desired, resulting in several years of monetary losses.
Under Governor Kate Brown, the state decided to try to minimize the losses by selling off the land. They expected to receive over $200 million for the sale to the lone bidder, a timber company. Unsurprisingly, the proposed protections for the land were frighteningly lenient.

Jennifer, a native of Eastern Oregon, and her partners in the Many Rivers Group didn’t like the sound of that. Through ads in the Eugene Weekly, rallies, and organized meetings for the campaign, along with an alliance of “Elliotteers,” a multi-organization environmental coalition, they succeeded earlier this year in convincing the State Land Board to keep the land in public ownership. Then Governor Brown and the Oregon legislature succeeded in securing $100 million in bond money during the 2017 session to buy out the most sensitive areas of the forest, constituting a major victory in the campaign to keep the Elliott in public ownership.

But even with the funding, that leaves two main goals for the continued protection of the Elliott and forests around the state in similar positions. First, Jennifer and her team want to make sure that the Elliott’s habitat conservation plan proceeds in a positive way, as the state has been known to enact and practice poor management policies in the past. Second, the passage of the Trust Lands Transfer bill in the 2017 session should help clear up any future conflicts of interest between environmental protection and children’s education. That legislation will not only impact the Elliott State Forest, but all Common School Fund lands.

And yet, despite all her success in activism, Jennifer still has a year to go in pursuit of her environmental degree and continues to identify as a scientist. To this end, she offered a message to any prospective volunteers for the Sierra Club: overcome any lingering fears or doubts about jumping into volunteering, she said. Everyone has their own abilities to offer the Club, and who knows, it could lead to a new path in life, just like it did for Jennifer.